Sure Energy Savers: Heating and Air Conditioning
- "Tune-up" your heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system with an annual maintenance contract. Even a new ENERGY STAR qualified HVAC system, like a new car, will decline in performance without regular maintenance. A contract automatically ensures that your HVAC contractor will provide "pre-season" tune-ups before each cooling and heating season. You save energy and money, and your system may last years longer with minimal costing, yearly maintenance fees.
- Use fans when a room/area is occupied.
- Install a programmable thermostat to automate your HVAC system. This solid-state, electronic device optimizes HVAC operation"24/7" based on your schedule, and can be "overridden" as needed for unscheduled events. So congregation members, staff and visitors always enter a comfortable facility, this "smart thermostat" can turn on the HVAC a certain amount of time before arrival instead of heating or cooling unoccupied space.
- Control direct sun through windows depending on the season and local climate. During cooling season, block direct heat gain from the sun shining through glass on the east and especially west sides of the facility. Depending on your facility, options such as "solar screens," "solar films," awnings, and vegetation can help. Over time, trees can attractively shade the facility, and help clean the air. Interior curtains or drapes can help, but it's best to prevent the summer heat from getting past the glass and inside. During heating season, with the sun low in the South, unobstructed southern windows can contribute solar heat gain during the day.
- Keep exterior doors closed while running your HVAC. It sounds simple but it will help to avoid wasteful loss of heated or cooled air.
- Use fans. Comfort is a function of temperature, humidity, and air movement. Moving air can make a somewhat higher temperature and/or humidity feel comfortable. Fans can help delay or reduce the need for air conditioning, and a temperature setting of as much as 3 to 5 degrees higher can feel just as comfortable with fans, and each degree of higher temperature can save about 3% on cooling costs. When the temperature outside is more comfortable than inside, a "box fan" in the window, or large "whole facility" fan in the attic, can push air out of the facility and pull in comfortable outside air. Fans can improve comfort and save energy year round.
- Plug leaks with weather stripping and caulking. This will help prevent the escape of heated or cooled air from your facility. Caulking and weather stripping also let you manage your ventilation, which is the deliberate controlled exchange of stuffy inside air for fresher outdoor air. To learn more about indoor air quality in your facility visit EPA's "Indoor Air Quality" Web site.